E233: Megan, Denise, and Stacy on Balancing Skills in Training

Today Megan Foster, Denise Fenzi and Stacy Barnett join me to talk about building balance into our training, how your dog's natural traits factor in, and when you might not want balance after all.

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1930 Hits

E232: Aggression in Dogs

This week I'm joined for an extra long episode by several of the presenters for the upcoming Aggression in Dogs conference to talk about how we can better handle these types of cases and debunk some of the many myths out there about aggression. 

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  3278 Hits
3278 Hits

E231: Sara Brueske - "Breaking Down the Retrieve"

When we talk about the foundations for a good retrieve most people think a take and a hold are the place to start — Sara and I talk in this episode about smaller splits that can give your dog even stronger foundations.

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  3279 Hits
3279 Hits

Strategy for Agility: A Course Map Analysis Case Study

Running agility courses isn't just about learning the handling moves or teaching your dog the obstacles. There is also a lot to learn about course analysis and planning your strategy. That piece can be the most challenging part for some times: what to do where?!

In my handling class, Smoother Moves, I have designed a series of technique quizzes for students to work through to help them develop their skills around planning their runs. This gives them the tools to look at a course map or walk a course and narrow down the available handling options that they have so that they can determine which will work best for their team.

In this first set of quizzes, students can choose from the techniques that they already have learned in the previous handling class, Smooth Moves. They are also prompted to predict their dog's reality lines for specific jumps. This puts the handlers into the mindset of thinking of the dog's path and which handling techniques impact their dogs' lines in the way that we need them to jump and turn.

Arielle posted her thoughts on the first set of technique quizzes. Here are her answers: 

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10774 Hits

E230: Sue Ailsby & Heather Lawson - Moving Up the Levels

With Sue retiring, Heather has stepped in to ensure students can continue to benefit from Sue's awesome Levels program at FDSA — for those not familiar with the program, we chat about how it came to be, and why Heather is excited to teach it! 

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2065 Hits

The Secret (reel) Life of Dogs: Free Roaming Dogs

Do you know what free-roaming dogs do all day? How do you think your own dog might interact with them? Marco Ojeda and Chrissi Schranz recently offered a free webinar on the subject — and we've shared it here for those who missed it live!

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  3434 Hits
3434 Hits

E229: Barbara Currier - "School of Fish: Raising a Performance Puppy"

Wondering where to start with your performance puppy? Barbara Currier shares her take after 25 years of raising performance puppies! 

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  2260 Hits
2260 Hits

Position Changes Out in Front: Exploring the Sit

Teaching your dog to sit seems so simple until you start thinking about the different ways a dog can sit. There is a stand to sit and a down to sit. In either of those position changes, the dog can either plant his front end or his rear end.

When I'm thinking about teaching my dog position changes, I try to think about the final behavior. If you do obedience or rally, you will need to teach your dog sit in front and in heel. Exercises that include a sit in front of you are the signal exercise, command discrimination, and several higher-level rally exercises. You'll see a sit in heel much more often, such as during heeling patterns and command discrimination.

Let's talk about how to teach the sit position!

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7844 Hits

E228: Sharon Carroll - "Behavior Mod for Reactive & Hyper-Aroused Dogs"

Sharon joins me to talk about her 10-step process for working with reactive and hyper-around dogs through Offered Durational Engagement. 

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5224 Hits

Building resilience: effort, reward, and coping with stress

Stress resilience is the ability to effectively respond to stress. In humans, higher levels of stress resilience are associated with decreased susceptibility to mental health disorders. Poor stress resilience is associated with mental and physical health concerns and decreased quality of life.

Basically, stress resilience is key to living a good life.

Dogs that have better stress resilience will be happier - and therefore less likely to develop behavior issues. This is all well and good, but is this something we actually have the ability to change? As more and more research comes out on this topic, the answer is increasingly becoming "yes"!

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  4119 Hits
4119 Hits

E227: Deb Jones - "Wizard in Training: Bringing Home a Puppy"

Deb recently brought home the newest member of her household... a koolie puppy named Wizard! Today we talk about what she's been working on since bringing him home and how she approaches building a relationship with a new puppy! 

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1972 Hits

Introducing a Cat to a Dog: With A Step by Step Training Plan

A few weeks ago, I did something bonkers. I decided to get a cat. That might not seem so strange until you realize that I live with a dog who kills things. Breezy is a 9 yr. old husky x border collie. He has killed birds, rodents and rabbits. He would have LOVED to add 'cat' to that list.

Historically, Breezy has been totally unable to function cognitively with a cat in the vicinity: lights on, no-one home. He couldn't eat, take treats or respond to his name. When we have stayed with friends who have cats it has taken at least 24 hrs before he could be distracted from trying to access them. Even when he could be distracted he went right back to hunting as soon as he could. With a couple of near misses out and about, cats were BIG on his radar!

So why the dickens did I want a cat? Well, I wanted to train another species. So, in a fit of impulsiveness, Speck, the 12-week- old kitten, arrived. I'm pleased and relieved to be able to say it has been a total success.

Here's how I did it... 

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5016 Hits

E226: Ryan Cartlidge - "Overcoming the Us vs. Them Mindset in Dog Training"

In this episode, Ryan and I talk about the idea of overcoming differences in mindset and training, having difficult conversations, and building better relationships for it!  

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2359 Hits

The benefits of appropriate challenge for our dogs

We talk about enrichment in the dog world all the time. How important is it, really? It turns out that it's very important! In fact, the very definition of enrichment states that it improves animal welfare and wellbeing. Today I am going to focus on the topic of cognitive enrichment, which Clark defines as "an appropriate cognitive challenge [that] results in measurable beneficial changes to well-being" (Clark, 2011).

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3409 Hits

E225: Jessica Hekman, PhD - "Where will the good dogs come from?"

The state of the rescue world and the breeding fancy have changed significantly in the last 50 years... Dr. Hekman and I chat about what those changes are, and what they mean for pet and sports dogs in the future.  

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2948 Hits

Ripples and Bubbles: FDSA Training Camp Welcome Lecture 2016

This post is a transcript of Denise's camp talk from 2016 that inspired the "ripples and bubbles" in the current FDSA logo.

DENISE FENZI: The theme of this year's conference is "Ripples and Bubbles" and since some people in here are probably relatively new to FDSA, I'd like to take a moment to talk about what that means. And for those who know all about ripples, I'd like to talk about ways to expand our circle of people who might be interested in some of our ideas.

At FDSA, we often talk about ripples.

Ripples are about your ability to create change, a tiny bit at a time. So how might one go about doing that?

The basic idea of "ripple theory" is that each positive action or decision you make has the potential to influence other's actions or decisions. And when those little spheres of influence go out into the world, they can become a very significant force, just one tiny ripple at a time. Significant change often start with the tiniest of things — just a ripple.

For example, when you go somewhere and you model excellence in training or emotional connection with your dog, others will see that. When you do what is right for your dog even when it hurts you personally, like pulling out of a show when it becomes obvious that your dog is miserable – others see that too. And kindness to people matters just as much! When you take an extra minute to help someone, anyone else who chooses to watch that interaction also recognizes your kindness.

As the example I just used demonstrates, when we talk about ripples we are often talking about modeling change. Showing others how you train your dog and interact with people, in an effort to influence their behavior. But I'd like to spend a few minutes talking about how you can expand your ability to ripple – to influence others – simply by considering how you choose to make other people feel, in addition to the ripples created by the behaviors which you model.

In a nutshell, if you can positively affect a person's happy emotions, then that also gives you the possibility of influencing that person's beliefs. And if that is true, then every single person in this room possesses the capacity for positive change at a very fundamental level.

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2412 Hits

E224: Nancy Tucker - Redefining Your Walks with Your Dog

Nancy shares how she's redefining the way we all think of our walks with our dogs... and why it matters 

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  2729 Hits
2729 Hits

The Science of Multiple Markers (and the concepts associated with them)

Why use multiple markers?

For our dog to select the appropriate behavior for a given cue or context, their brain needs to have established associations among sensory stimuli, selected behaviors, and rewards. In training scenarios, typically the rewards are treats, toys, personal play, or a behavior the dog enjoys, and we associate these with the specific behavior/s we desire.

One part of the brain plays an important role in learning such stimulus-action-reward (antecedent-behavior-consequence) associations. However, another part of the brain is focused on reward-prediction error.

So, what is reward prediction error (RPE)?

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5371 Hits

E223: Kathy Sdao - "Living a LIMA Life"

In this episode Kathy and I talk about the "LIMA Being" project, and the key to a really good cue.  

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  5928 Hits
5928 Hits

Could Play Post-Training Help Improve What Your Dog Learned?

We put a lot of sweat and tears (hopefully no blood!) into training our dogs. So, we want to make sure they retain as much learning as possible between sessions. 

Both sleep and positive emotional states have been shown to enhance mental performance and memory in dogs when they occur immediately after learning a new task. Research also shows that emotional arousal can enhance memory. 

We often think of this occurring in conjunction with negative events—such as September 11th. But can it happen with strong positive emotions as well?

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  2624 Hits
2624 Hits

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